November 08, 2007

The Impossible Dream, and the Probable Coming Nightmare

William Pfaff, whose work I have excerpted several times (see, e.g., Part VI of the "Dominion" series, and "The Myth of Safety"), writes on "The Impossibility of American Empire":
The Empire of the United States was launched in 1898 [see here], and has since traversed a mere century, experiencing increasing ambition, and suffering increasing difficulties. Could it too last 406 years [as Spain's did]? The current evidence is not reassuring.

Take the capacity to rule. Take the current Republican party candidates for their party’s presidential nomination. The level of intelligence, emotional and intellectual maturity, and simple information about the subjects on which they discourse, would disqualify them from mainstream political rank in any other major democracy.


[E]lected U.S. government has been so debased by the national willingness to submit elections to the values and habits of a medium of entertainment, television, and to the corruptions of money, that it is hard to see that such a nation can indefinitely maintain representative government.

The Bush administration has demonstrated that major groups and forces in American society indeed do not wish that form of government to survive, and are deliberately engaged in destroying the constitutional order, undermining the powers of Congress and of the courts, so as to install unchecked executive power, rationalized by a novel and authoritarian legal ideology, and sustained by national security demagogy.

I have not spoken of the Democratic candidates for president in the same way because the party’s candidates and debate have not descended to quite the abysmal levels of the Republican pre-primary campaign. But the Democratic party is equally complicit in degrading and subverting the electoral debate and practice of the country, since its candidates are unwilling or unable to challenge the American imperial ideology that drives the country’s foreign policy, an ideology of permanent, unchallengeable global military supremacy.


This hysterical American dystopia feeds fantasies of conquest to its Islamic enemies that the enemies themselves could not imagine.


The United States government, in its effort to execute its national security strategy of dominating and defeating global radicalism and extremism, is currently directly attempting to manipulate and control the internal political processes of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Hezbollah, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya; and indirectly it attempts to exercise decisive influence on the affairs of Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Yemen, Libya, the Gulf Emirates, and a non-existent Kurdistan – and this is to take only a single zone of the world.

This is what the War on Terror has come to mean. It is an attempt to create a universal empire that exists only in the American imagination, by an effort that, because its aim is impossible to achieve, is unlimited in the damage it could do to Americans and others.
Related: "Enemies of Our Own Creation"